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07/01 Direct Link
“What do we do?” I asked, wanting to help but unsure where to begin.
“We’ll need to clear a pathway from the bottom of the stairs to the washer.” Mom surveyed the lay of the land. “Diana, can you move that playpen over there?”
“Where to?”
“Back over into that empty corner under the coal chute.”
“I’ll help.”
Diana and I tugged the dilapidated thing over stacks of books and miscellaneous bric-a-brac, careful not to break or disturb anything on the way. Mom moved laundry hampers, baskets, bags and mounds into the very temporarily empty space.
07/02 Direct Link
Nancy Vashon was a pretty woman with short, curly, black hair and a warm smile. She was younger than Mom, still they hit it off right away. On cool weekday mornings, while Dad was at Harvard, and Mr. Vashon was at work, Mom and Nancy enjoyed leisurely conversations over coffee and cigarettes. Diana shared in the coffee, and listened intently.
Home from the hospital, Eddie was confined to bed rest for a week. Donny, younger than me, was a sweetheart. His big brown eyes sparkled once he forgot to be shy, and his tousled dark locks begged to be stroked.
07/03 Direct Link
When everyone was tired of listening to Donnie and me playing chopsticks, we moved to card games like Fish, and Old Maid. Mike suggested a game of Chinese Checkers, and we had a good time with that. While Eddie was recuperating, sometimes he was allowed to join us in board and card games. With four hands in, Monopoly and Clue were added to our daily mix.
The last week of June, things began to change. The constant clouds and rain lifted; sun became a daily companion. And, though his mother kept an eagle eye on him, Eddie could play outside.
07/04 Direct Link
He still asks me why I waited for him that first date when he was twenty minutes late. I sat in the lobby of the dorm, sure he would show. At eighteen, I’d never been stood up in my life. Finally I saw him dash out of a new, blue VW Bug, rush through the doors and greet me with apologies.
Why? Because the first time I looked into his bright blue eyes, I fell in; I knew in my bones this was real and for keeps.
Forty-six years later he is still my soulmate, my darlin‘ companion.
07/05 Direct Link
Soon after his release from quarantine, Brother came over to mess around with Mike and me. We were game to have another person to play with, even though he bragged about his ringworm - like it made him special. But Brother didn’t play nice. It started out as tag, but he just kept chasing after me trying to grab me. When I told him to stop he persisted, and then he caught me and wouldn’t let go. Thats when I jabbed him in the ribs and stomped on his foot.
“Ouch, what’d you do that for?” He yelped.
07/06 Direct Link
“I said stop, and I meant stop.” I bellowed as I bolted toward the front door. “Don’t you ever touch me again or I’ll call the cops.”
“Jeez, what’s the matter with her?” Brother turned to Mike for reassurance.
“Look, she gave you fair warning. Told you to stop chasing and grabbing her, but you kept at it. Next time just do what she tells you, alright?”
“Guess so.”
“Just don’t mess with her. You like cards or checkers?” Mike asked.
“Sure.”
“Come into the game room, she won’t care if you’re in there.”
07/07 Direct Link
Every day I see Western Tiger Swallowtail butterflies in my yard and neighborhood. Three years ago I felt fortunate to see even one in the entire summer. Maybe we are doing something right. There are still some homes that hire the yard maintenance to chemical suppliers, but more and more the landscape is filling in with bird and butterfly friendly habitat. And, more people are eschewing pesticides that kill all the good bugs and allow nasty ones to thrive.
I took a No Pesticide pledge yesterday; easy since I am already practicing what I preach. Herbs and flowers work best.
07/08 Direct Link
Perhaps because the first five years of my life I was essentially blind and learned to navigate the world with all my other senses, I understand my father who at ninety-one is essentially deaf yet puts on a good show; acting as though he is engaged and understands. He sees the expressions of those around him and mirrors them. When I ask, did you hear that? and he says no, thoughtful people repeat their statement close enough to his good ear that he can comprehend what they mean. I know he hears when he paraphrases or ask a question.
07/09 Direct Link
He refuses to use a cane. Doesn’t need one. I watch as he slowly navigates the broken pavement, strewn with pebbles and pocked with holes. Watch his feet in their careful amble over low-growing Camomile and Spurge which cling to life at the dusty edges. Carrying something important; a Cantaloupe or his jacket, he arrives at the destination a half block later, relieved he has defied the rules of aging once again.

We watch as the fire blazes with fresh wood, subsides when its tenders tire, then lowers into bright orange coals. We sleep before it is ash.
07/10 Direct Link
Just as babies grow by leaps and bounds, changing significantly from week to month to year, so the body completes its cycle at the end of life; first gradually, then more rapidly as aging proceeds. I am an observer of my own slide past middle age and that of my father.

There was a moment he could not remember what we had done that day. We sat on the couch, he drank two glasses of water. I stayed with him, comforting, empathizing. Though difficult to watch, it must be only a fraction of what he sees from the inside out.
07/11 Direct Link
We are at the summit of Willamette Pass, in the high desert wilds of Oregon. It is the middle of July. Mornings break cold, just above freezing. By noon on Odell Lake the air is pleasant but the sun glare is flatiron hot. Sunscreen protects our skin but the heat burrows in. After lunch the air temperature is in the nineties Fahrenheit.
We don our swimsuits, pad through the tall grass to Crescent Creek where we dunk our hot bodies in the brisk, clear water.  It is a daily ritual; sitting on a submerged log, then floating in the shallows. 
07/12 Direct Link
Yes, we caught fish, Kokanee Trout (landlocked Salmon) and they are delicious. At Crescent Lake our lines were in the water by 7:30, and we had three limits (fifteen fish) by 10:30. Fast and furious, with many bites and ‘almost in the boat’ misses. Though the fish were smallish, averaging 12”, that didn’t matter to Dad and me.

Then the word in camp was that fish in Odell were on the bite, and averaged 14”-15”. Dad and I mulled the options. He was hesitant because he knew an algae bloom at Odell had turned Diana off.
07/13 Direct Link
In 1991, Dad, Mom and I ‘discovered’ Odell for our family. Only a two hour drive from Corvallis, it is a large lake, in many ways reminiscent of Priest Lake. Fishing was/is usually good, and there were/are Mackinaw in the deeper waters. As Dad and I considered plans for the rest of our fishing vacation, I saw a look in his eyes that made my decision. It was a combination of longing and wonder. Cell to cell I called Diana and she was OK with fishing Odell. Our last two days fishing Dad was humming all day long.
07/14 Direct Link
On the way up the mountain a week ago, Dad was not keen that Josie was with me. But she showed him what a good dog she is. Within a day, he was leaning to give her praise, and at meals he’d sneak bites of food to her. She always minded me, and would quiet quickly whenever she barked at something in the night. In the boat, she curled up on the designated seat, and did not get in the way. While we descended into the valley today, her nose was on his leg, his hand patted her side.
07/15 Direct Link
Whenever I kiss Dad goodbye, and wave to him while leaving his driveway, a surge of emotion floods over me that is so very complex, I wonder if I can describe it?
Love of this man who is my father, mentor, guide, teacher, confidant, inspiration.
Fear of losing him before I see him next. Someday that will happen, not now I pray.
Nostalgia for our shared life when the time before us stretched out farther than the times behind us.
Gratefulness that he is and I am and we are and will always be one father, one daughter, one clan.
07/16 Direct Link
“What’s there to do around here?” I asked Nancy one morning while she and Mom were having coffee.
“What do you like to do?” She asked.
“Well, I like to go on hikes, and play in creeks or streams, I like to swim, but the last time I went to the pool it was too crowded.”
“Have you been to the Charles River yet?” She wondered, with a side glance to Mom.
“No, is it very far?”
“Only a couple miles. I bet you and Mike could walk over there if you wanted to. It’s a pretty place.”
07/17 Direct Link
“I’ve got my canteen full of water too.” Mike grinned.
The rudimentary map Nancy had drawn, kept us off high traffic streets and led to a greenway near the Charles by way of back streets. About a two mile walk, it was all suburban neighborhoods along streets with big old houses like ours, with nice yards and sidewalks. We took a couple short cuts through uncharted side streets with hard packed dirt pathways and were lost for a while, but Mike was able to get us back on track.
“There’s a bridge,” I pointed. “We must be close.”
07/18 Direct Link
Dad was thriving at Harvard. Mom dropped him off in the mornings and picked him up at the end of his classes. When he arrived home, Dad was full of creative energy and ideas.
“We had an excellent session today. Dr. Marchard, a professor in the Clinical Psychology department started off the day with an excellent discussion about the latest research into the impact childhood experiences have on adolescent and adult behavior.”
“What did he have to say?” Mom asked.
“In essence, the research shows that nurture has as much or more to do with our life path as nature.”
07/19 Direct Link
“Humm, tell me more.”
“Skinner’s research is compelling. Too bad he isn’t here this summer, but Marchard explained his theory in a way that it made sense to me. After his presentation we formed small groups and he gave each group a different case study to consider and analyze. As we talked in my group, all five of us came up with examples from our own experiences that reinforced the concept before us. After lunch everyone reassembled and each group reported what we had worked out. Today I was the spokesman for my group.”
“What does that require?”
07/20 Direct Link
“I took good notes as the group discussion progressed, and was able to summarize some of the key points we arrived at - so I got the honor of presenting our conclusions to the whole group.”
“You’re good at that Harvey, I bet you wowed them.”
“I don’t know about that, but Dr. Marchard took some time with me after class and invited me to drop by and visit during his office hours.”
“Kudos to you!”
“I intend to take him up on it too. He’s very astute; I’m sure I will learn a lot from him.”
07/21 Direct Link
On July 4, 1960, our nations flag sported two new stars; Alaska and Hawaii had been granted statehood in 1959, and now their stars spangled with the rest. Every night Walter Cronkite filled us in on the upcoming nominating conventions for candidates to run for president. Dad, always alert to the politics of his time, paid attention.
“Intriguing,” Mom reflected, “here we are in Boston, when a Native son is likely to win the Democratic ticket.”
“He’s a sharp one that Kennedy,” Dad affirmed. “If he can smooth over the concerns about Catholicism, he’ll be an excellent candidate.”
07/22 Direct Link
“I bet this town will celebrate all night if Kennedy wins the nomination.” Mom laughed.
“I ‘spect so,” Dad smiled. “And, you’re right, we’ll be here to enjoy the party!”
Dad had very little bookwork for his seminars; sometimes an article or a case study to review before the next day, but when he was home his focus was on our family. Weekends were free and he had one thing he wanted more than any other entertainment; Dad was determined to take us to see a major league baseball game at Fenway Park while he had the chance.
07/23 Direct Link
Sunshine burned through Boston’s mist long before we arrived at the massive facade of Fenway Park. I had never entered a structure this size before and stayed close to Mom and Diana, while Dad and Mike frisked along ahead. The dim corridors were lined with vendors offering Cracker Jack, peanuts, snowcones, hot dogs and beer. Finally we emerged to sunlight and the vast stadium. Dad led us to our bench half way above the diamond along the first base line, where we settled in to absorb the immensity of a ballpark that could seat over thirty-three thousand people.
07/24 Direct Link
Though I rarely saw the ball, Dad did his best to fill in what the announcer left out. He and Mike were having the time of their lives. I took in the whole atmosphere; hawkers offering popcorn and cold drinks, kids like me jittering in our seats, women sweating under their straw hats, men calling to the hawkers for another hotdog, another beer. We sang Take Me Out To The Ball Game to the stirring accompaniment of a live grand organ, and masked our disappointment when the Yankees lost 9-5. It didn’t matter. We had witnessed the best.
07/25 Direct Link
Being within driving distance to many national treasures and two of Mom’s brothers, she took us kids on a week long tour to see the sighs and visit family. Mom made a bee-line from Boston down the East coast to Baltimore, Maryland where her favorite brother, my Uncle Chi, lived. We stayed the night and he came along the next day to show us the National Mall in Washington DC and then Mount Vernon.
“Everything is so big.” I said, standing at the foot of the Washington Monument.”
“Wait till you see the Lincoln Memorial,” Uncle Chi chuckled.
07/26 Direct Link
We walked toward the reflecting pool where geese plied the waters and people strolled by. “Watch your step now,” Uncle Chi warned as I began to mount the hewn marble stairs leading to the Lincoln Memorial.
“This is grand,” I exclaimed, “better than any church I’ve ever seen.”
“He was a great man, Lindy. See the words carved into the walls?”
“Um hum.”
“They shaped our nation at a critical time.”
I stood quietly in awe before the massive, white marble likeness of President Lincoln; my head barely reaching the top of the base on which the statue rested.
07/27 Direct Link
Mount Vernon was beautiful and impressive, but my tired body and brimful brain began to lose the ability to absorb anything more. Then too the humidity had all of us drooping. Uncle Chi promised to visit in Boston before we left for home, and waved goodbye as we continued South to Virginia. Uncle Bill, Mom’s oldest brother, was a captain in the Navy, stationed at Norfolk. He and Aunt Dorothy lived in Chesapeake. Their children were grown and married, but cousin Joan lived nearby, and she was there to welcome us when we arrived just in time for refreshments.
07/28 Direct Link
“I can hardly wait to show you the sights.” Joan exclaimed.
“Where shall we start?” Diana asked.
“I was thinking tomorrow we could go to Monticello. You can’t come all this way and not see Jefferson’s beautiful estate.”
“Oh of course! How long does it take to get there?” Mom asked.
“A couple hours or so, and through lovely countryside. We could go in the morning and have lunch on the way back.” Joan suggested. “There’s a quaint little tearoom restaurant on the road that has excellent sandwiches.”
“Sounds delightful.” Diana grinned, she already loved cousin Joanie.
07/29 Direct Link
The day after touring Monticello, Mom decided to stayed with Aunt Dorothy and rest up while Joanie drove Diana, Mike and me to the beach in her convertible sports car. Wearing a straw hat tied under her chin with purple chiffon, and sporting bold sunglasses, Joan smiled broadly as she and Diana chatted in the front seats. Mike and I squeezed into the slim space behind them, hugging the side of their seat backs for dear life. It was a beautiful day and we were all in high spirits with the sun on our faces and breeze in our hair.
07/30 Direct Link
Cruising the boulevard parallel to Virginia Beach, a motorcycle police officer pulled Joan over.
“Drivers license please, ma’am.”
“Yes, of course officer, I’m Joan B, wife of Naval Air Commander B, here’s my ID.”
“Thank you Mrs. B.”
“What’s the problem officer. I don’t think I was speeding.”
“No you were not, but you have four people in a two person vehicle. That is very dangerous and against the law.”
“Oh heavens - I didn’t realize it was illegal.”
“I’ll let you go with a warning, but don’t let me catch you again.”
07/31 Direct Link
On the way home from the beach, Mike and I did our best to become instant accordions squeezing out every breath to make ourselves as small as possible, our turtle necks extended to kept a keen lookout for any suspiciously official vehicle.
“Oh that was so much fun!” Diana effused to Mom.
“Aunt Aggie, I would dearly love to have Diana stay with me this next week. Hugh is away, and I get so very lonely. Could you let her stay?” Joan asked in her most earnest voice.
“Well I don’t know, how will she get back to Boston?”